By Marcy Driehaus
With Shrek The Musical having opened this past Wednesday here at Seton, who better to spotlight this week than the woman who originated the role of Fiona on Broadway? Sutton Foster, Broadway’s sweetheart, is an adorable addition to the otherwise dog-eat-dog world of musical theatre.
Sutton Lenore Foster was born on March 18, 1975, in Statesboro, Georgia. She started on her path to performing at four years old when she started taking dance classes and began singing at age 10. Foster made her theatrical debut when she was cast as the lead in a community theatre’s production of Annie. Only a few years after this big break, she was featured on StarSearch, a televised talent competition that has also been the starting point for other successful performers such as Beyoncé and Christina Aguilera.
After a spending a year studying at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Foster decided to abandon her education and pursue her career as a performer. This move, though extremely risky, ended up working out in her favor when she landed her first role on Broadway as an understudy for the role of Sandy in Grease in 1996. From that point forward, Foster’s career as a triple-threat performer was a whirlwind song, dance, and sold out crowds.
Over the years, Foster has accumulated a number of awards for her work in various productions. These awards range all the way from Drama Desk awards to Tony Awards for her work in Anything Goes. These awards, though noteworthy and honorable, do not exemplify how Foster has impacted other performers whose position she was once in. One aspiring actress in the Seton community who has been especially inspired by Foster’s work is junior Kalie Kaimann. When asked how Sutton Foster has been a role model to her throughout her journey in portraying the role of Fiona in Shrek the Musical, Kaimann said, “Sutton Foster is just amazing. I mean really, she is just an all-around performer and one of my role models when it comes to Musical Theatre. Her vocals are solid and pure with an unbelievable range, her dancing is fabulous, and her overall stage presence just makes her so enjoyable to watch. Particularly, she has helped me in my role of Fiona in Shrek the Musical here at Seton. She portrays the character beautifully, and I have learned from her performance and also thrown in a few things of my own to make the character come to life. She is such a star!”
Sutton Foster is proof that if you persevere you will succeed. While addressing the students at Ball State University 2012, Foster offered her words of encouragement that resonate deeply with all people who are trying to thrive in their careers or any other aspect of life. She told them that, “You have to want it more than anyone else and you have to be your own champion, be your own superstar. Blaze your own path. Say yes to opportunity. Follow your instincts, be eager and passionate. Keep learning. Nurture your real lasting relationships and don’t be a jerk. Free your imaginations so you can become all that you want to be.” This advice has the power to be a solid foundation for everyone out there who is trying to accomplish something great. As we go through our lives and are faced with hardships and setbacks, let us all keep Foster’s words in our minds and hearts and keep pushing forward and do everything in our power to be our own superstars.
Lastly, if you haven’t noticed by now, this article is a not-so-subtle plug for Seton and Elder’s production of Shrek The Musical. So come out and see it this weekend and watch Kalie Kaimann do Sutton Foster’s most memorable role justice right here on Seton’s stage.